HGP-A — Hawaii Geothermal Project — Abbott

In 1976, the University of Hawaii (UH) drilled Hawaii’s first geothermal well to produce steam. After an extensive geophysical survey in the lower Kilauea East Rift Zone, with a rotary rig, UH drilled the geothermal well the Hawaii Geothermal Project – Abbott (HGP-A). HPG-A operated just south of Puu Honuaula, the initial vent site of the 1955 eruption, in Puna, Big Island.

At 6,450 feet deep, HGP-A operated as one of the hottest geothermal wells in the world. HGP-A recorded a maximum temperature of 676°F (358°C) and a total mass flow of approximately 100,000 pounds per hour, with nearly equal amounts of both liquid and steam at a surface temperature of 365°F (186°C).

From July 1981 to 1989, a 2.8-megawatt electric plant used HGP-A’s energy to power the Hawaii Electric Light Company’s grid. The plant’s flowing pressure and steam fraction kept constant.

Originally designed as a two-year demonstration project, HGP-A continued operating until the end of 1989. Eventually, the well was plugged and abandoned.

The UH units that ran HGP-A included the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, SOEST; and College of Engineering. The U.S. Department of Energy, and the state and county governments funded the plant.

In 2018, Kilauea’s lava buried the HGP-A site and the adjacent Puna Geothermal Venture power plant.

The Geothermal Collection
Phase I
Phase II
After Phase IV

– Alice Kim, Digitization & Outreach Coordinator

Created Nov. 4, 2018